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Maya Lin explores aspects of the natural world through sculpture and drawing in new exhibition
Maya Lin, Installation image Here and There Pace London, 2013. © Maya Lin, Courtesy Pace Gallery
LONDON.- Pace presents Here and There, a two-part exhibition of new work by American artist Maya Lin presented in London and New York this spring. Here and There is on view at Pace London, 6-10 Lexington Street, from 22 March through 11 May and at Pace, 32 East 57th Street, New York from 26 April through 22 June. This is Maya Lin’s first exhibition in London.

Lin explores aspects of the natural world through sculpture and drawing, focusing on mapping as a way to translate the enormity of a place to a scale that we can see and understand. The New York presentation of Here and There concentrates on the geography of Manhattan and New York State (Here), while the London exhibition explores natural phenomena within but also beyond London, extending to Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Arctic (There).

Employing technological methods to study and visualise topographies and geographic phenomena, Lin creates sculptures that interpret the natural world through a twenty-first century lens. By abstracting natural forms into a single material – marble, wood, silver, or steel – she reveals things that are often hidden below the surface or beyond sight, merging rational order with notions of beauty and the transcendental.

Lin’s Pin Rivers and Silver Rivers – wall works representing aerial views of waterways, in which the image of the river is made of either recycled silver or steel pins, with the wall forming the surrounding land – enable viewers to see rivers both as interconnected wholes and as dynamic, sculptural forms. The use of pins helps to represent the dispersion of the waterways, particularly evident in the evocative, fan-like shape of the Lena River estuary or the slender, meandering Danube.

The Disappearing Bodies of Water works consist of layers of white Vermont Danby marble carved to represent the diminishment of three bodies of water over time – Lake Chad, the Aral Sea, and the Arctic Ice mass. The shape of each layer of marble is derived from a satellite image of the shrinking mass of the body of water. As climate change accelerates, Lin is increasingly interested in rising currents and changes at the water’s edge. Though she has previously engaged with three-dimensional modeling to show depth and area, this is the first time that Lin uses three dimensions to represent temporal change.

The exhibition also features marble sculptures of longitudinal and latitudinal sections that reveal the mountainous terrain above and below the ocean’s surface. The fourteen-foot-long marble sculpture Greenwich Mean Time represents the cartographic section of the Greenwich Meridian, the parallel passing through London at zero degrees longitude. To create the sculpture, Lin began with drawings, tracing the complex terrain of the ocean floor, followed by computer analysis and scaled models to find the right form before it is made in marble. “It’s a process that balances scientific data with the handmade,” says Lin. “If the end form looks only like the idea of the information, then it fails. It has to become its own form – evocative, beautiful, strange. I start with extremely complex scientific data points and then, through a visual editing process, I find the scale and simplicity of the form – revealing a landscape both visually discernible and compelling.”

The Pace London exhibition features a room dedicated to Lin’s last memorial, What is Missing?, a multi-sited artwork that raises awareness about the current crisis surrounding biodiversity and habitat loss. A website (www.whatismissing.net) acts as a nexus for the project, creating an ecological history of the planet and inviting people to share something they have personally witnessed diminish significantly or disappear from the natural world. At Pace London, the room will concentrate on the history of the Thames and of London and its environs, revealing the former biological abundance of the waterway through details gleaned from historical documents and archives. Visitors to the gallery are asked to contribute their own memories of the Thames, adding to the historical account.



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